Arts reviews for Miami,Dade County and South Florida, Visual arts, painting and sculpture, art in public places and cultural affairs. Art curation and advice about new influences and trends in the Arts. Focusing on positive, civic acheivements, past and present. Discovering new, real talent, worthy of good comment and applause.
Le Jeune and Biltmore Way Coral Gables October, 26, 27.
The Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival had it’s 4th annual weekend street festival in front of Coral Gables City Hall .
Saturday morning Mayor Jim Cason welcomed everyone from the stage to get the Festival started then made his way up the Festival tents past a host of vibrant and expressive artists and vendors to the West end entrance, where he signed the Gracias Por La Historia canvases at the New World Mural 1513 Foundation’s tent. Mayor Cason then posed with a Conquistador helmet in front of a new mural made in partnership with Dade Heritage Trust for the Viva 500 Florida theme, by two of the original Freedom Tower, muralists from 1988.
The Gracias Por La Historia canvases filled with signatures by the end of the second day of the Festival, whole families donned helmets and feathers to be photographed together in front of the Map mural being raffled. The signed canvases are destined for the State and Spanish archive collections for this historic milestone in our State’s Viva 500 history and heritage. Families put the dates of their arrival in this area, they ranged from 1866 to less than 6 months ago.
The Freedom Tower Muralists were on hand to sign posters, they were also celebrating 25 years since their New World mural was created for the News Tower/ Freedom Tower in 1988, which commemorates Juan Ponce De Leon’s naming and exploration of Biscayne Bay and Tequesta Miami for two weeks in 1513 and reminding everyone that Tequesta Miami is the first Native American settlement discovered and recorded in the ships logs of Juan Ponce De Leon’s first expedition to the waters North of Cuba.
Major Jim Cason is quick to point out that sixty percent of Coral Gables residents and businesses are Hispanic in culture or influence and having the Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival is an obvious win for all. By the time he had made his way back down the other side of the vendor’s avenue the Stage area was well warmed up and sounding out Latin beats that would vary through the weekend from folk and gypsy to Latin funk and salsa beats.
The small Merrick Park in front of Coral Gables City Hall had shade and favorite foods found from all over Miami Dade County with kids activities and cool places to sit and enjoy the stage performers.
This was a new venue for the Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival, previously at the Ponce De Leon and Biltmore intersect and park area. Their partnership with Waste Management Inc, had positioned clean trash boxes everywhere with soda and water stands never far from any point at the Festival. The Festival ran till late Saturday night attracting the usual Coral Gables Miracle Mile crowd to come across Le Jeune Ave to eat and dance, Sunday evening the Festival ended earlier.
The Gables Hispanic Cultural Foundation really organised a very fun and secure Festival again.
Young graffiti artist Israel Hernandez-Llach dies in police custody. Miami Florida.
Police in Miami Florida were called to the scene of an abandoned property, where 18 year old graffiti artist Israel Hernandez-Llach was trespassing. When Israel did not comply with the cops orders, he was tazered by one of the officers. Hernandez posed no threat to the officers or other individuals and thus should not have warranted the use of this “non-lethal weapon”. Soon after Hernandez died of cardiac arrest that was caused by the 50,000 volts entering his body. Many questions arise from such a scenario but the primary one would be concerning the probable legality of tazers. It seems that because they are not considered lethal weapons; people (or law enforcement) may use stun guns more freely when they,as officers, are not even in any danger. “Lurch attempted to run past the single officer to escape arrest.”
The second problem lies in the gray area where graffiti belongs in the art world. The huge variance in styles and talent create quite the spectrum of different people who call themselves graffiti artists. Taggers and low skill graffiti artists are the usual suspects who we see simply tagging their nick name or some phrase on the wall. It is done to mark their ‘territory’ like a dog’s marking of a lamp post and almost all the time this is the vandalism that we see on our local businesses or homes. These practices alienate the other graffiti artists or street artists that we see, the ones who invest time and effort into developing an idea then laying it out on a wall or interesting location. Often innovative spray painting styles or stenciling is used alongside an image that has a purpose or message to convey. Some graffiti art is used to commemorate a fallen friend or convey an irony in society. Hernandez seemed to primarily belong to the more developed graffiti artist category, his pieces of work resemble large bright murals with moderate detail. These works could be used for advertisements or as a form of decoration for local businesses if concluded properly but since graffiti artists are usually all categorized by society in the same group, this obviously leads to prejudice, further alienating decent graffiti artists like Hernandez who use abandoned buildings as their canvases consequently being labeled as criminal artists . No one forced Hernandez to break the law by defacing private property, it was his own will.
My points are that the expectations that culture creates for people seem to shape their fate more than people think. Maybe if graffiti art had an understood place in society as advertising or just art most of them would not have to resort to being classified as mere taggers. That the use of a known deadly weapon by law enforcement to secure an arrest for a minimal nuisance violation is an excessively lazy and inhumane policy for the edit… “professional law enforcement”, written on all of the patrol cars of Miami Dade County.
Brian Curtis Stonehenge Series I&II
UM Gallery Wynwood. Miami Florida July – Sept. 2013
Miami Art Reviews.
Brian Curtis is the head of under graduate studies in Painting and drawing at University of Miami, Coral Gables. The Stonehenge Series is a departure from his life and figure paintings.
The ancient (6500yrs) megalithic stone circle of England set against a tropical sunset may seem like a remarketing tool of artistic juxtaposition but a few days after meeting the artist ,looking west from Miami Beach’s Green Diamond towards Miami’s downtown skyline. “how much alike the set sun on these new Miami megalithic towers are to Brain’s recent series”. The use of the ancient symbol “Stonehenge” has proved to be very universal this side of the Atlantic. Miami has its own mini circle, dating from a similar time in man’s history, the symbol has always been associated with the psyche,spirit and meeting place.
Brian Curtis’s Stonehenges are keys to personal spaces,each sky appealing to each destiny, the brush work delivers only as much as is required with light’s fluidity and life’s color against stone cold realism. The paintings are accompanied with mythical tales, ancient stories and ancestral traditions of ritual. It would be easy to imagine any of these paintings being a subliminal morning flash or returning welcome in many people’s homes.
Brian has succeeded in fusing two specific joys into one language, he is after all a professor of Fine Art and his use of universal symbols to evoke emotion and mind is in complete tradition of the visual language of symbols that defines Fine Art from art in general.
Advocacy For Regional Preservation of Heritage for Economical Stability.
by Wiliiam Coulthard / Edited by Ana Bikic Miami Art Reviews.
A region that relies upon tourism needs an entertainment industry. Historical sites are an integral part of this service orientated economy and the degradation and destruction of cultural interests undermines the formula a region has inherited over the decades and centuries. History is the repeated story that entertains, they are the tourist industry‘s product line and without them a region is no different than any other as a destination.
Although Miami Dade has beaches,National Parks and a pool side party image, most of our visitors are children and the retired if we include resident’s families,snow birds and annual holiday trippers. Their interests are based on more traditional pursuits that require a more intellectual approach to entertainment. Beaches and night clubs, gambling and sports are good for some but to attract an audience appreciation for the arts requires having a strong local history that is more appealing to opera lovers and art collectors, who in turn buy apartments and return each year.
Miami Dade County has an immediate or recent history in comparison to European regions but what interests visitors beyond just the pleasure and joy of visiting is to be entertained, educated and have memorable experiences that can be shared with friends upon returning home. Saving local history plays a vital role when tourists return home, they carry with them the stories behind the places they’ve visited. A region’s history actively stimulates intelligent and curious minds, between natural pleasures of parks and beaches to complete the experience of an exciting and fulfilling trip to their friends. The ancient Romans understood this economic formula providing not just arena entertainment but also galleries of archival history to accompany libraries and monuments. Their tourist cities provided the very best in spas and sports but the most successful cities like Pompey and Pila had preserved and prepared more ancient sites to excite a more affluent and studied clientele.
Miami, Miami Beach and the Miami Dade County, as a whole, must be mindful as it expands to what foot print of the past it wipes away. If an iconic house sitting in full view is the cover picture of an old story related to the region’s past with internationally known cultural references; it follows that the home’s destruction would bring strong negative feed back from previous and possible visitors. If a City is seen not to care about it’s heritage then it is seen not to care about it’s visitor’s experience. So why should they return? or talk well to others? Persuading for a location based on others opinions and published experiences, a reputation by region or location should be seen as a regional and residential responsibility for everyone wishing to live in a successful area and enjoy the benefits that come from an active tourist economy.
The history, architecture and intellectual property of local myths and stories that enrich the visitors experience of our region are vital to the tourism industry as a whole, without them Miami would be boring and predictable. Our local history adds variety to regional destination and encourages opportunities for creating new local attractions. Preservation is therefore a vital part, not an after thought, it is at the heart of our very image and if we are seen to not care what is torn down, our ineptness to protect our own interests will be ridiculed internationally. Currently the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the famous Star Island Mansion are up for destruction.
Now is the time to save them, like Miami did with the Daily News / Freedom Tower 12 years ago. Developers and their investors must realize history has unique and has brand name status and that the stories behind the history are an intellectual property that belongs to all the region’s residents, compromising local stories compromises future potential. Destroying history actually limits future development.
Sometimes being delayed to write an article gives time for the spam art to sediment and the clear solutions created crystallize. Art shows are full of it but some less than others.
Miami’s Art Basel Miami Beach week has an entourage of side shows that proving to be an ideal part of Gallery circuits, giving local national and regional artists a wider reach. The ‘dot’ Art Miami, grouped with the other mid town/design district fairs and shows attracted some great talent in December 2012 , collectively equaling the Art Basel Miami Beach in attendance and artistic value$.
This Charles Birchfield, last one left from the DC Moore Gallery NY. They had had a booth at Art Basel two years ago and sold six Birchfields.
Simon Raab. br 1952, spider grenades and puma made of bullet casings.with the GeorgeZimmerman Gallery.
Raab lives and works in Germany. His work incorporates contemporary debate topics constantly, which has led to his work being banned in China and people being arrested trying to import art work.
This exhibit was very popular. South Florida has a strong hunting
tradition and his life size Puma made out of bullet casings was idolized.
The Douglas Dawson Gallery has been in Chicago since 1982. Member of the Antique Tribal Art Assoc. The use of old metal tables and heavy industrial materials as plinths for the Tribal art makes the Antiques display look like a Modern Art Gallery. Primitiveness is not without design finesse.
The exhibit was fascinating and was displayed with great taste.The Buddha sat surrounded by characters of the globe with the stone mill wheel inviting to view him through. Mr. Dawson not only has a great collection to choose from but he arranges the exhibits as we would want at home, in company and inviting intimate gaze. This Buddha wood carving sits nearly five feet high from the table.
The Jane Sauer Gallery, Sante Fe, New Mexico, The Jane Sauer Miami dot Art exhibit brought a surprising and talented group of contemporary American figurative Sculptors whose pose and content was immediately cognizant of the genre’s tradition and experimentation of material and content irony.
Portyrait painting. The pinnacle of perfect painting. The apex art form for visual artists Bryan Drury, 9 x 11 portrait titled Jake Garn 2012. This gem was hung on a side pillar wall unnoticed by most but obviously not all, it was red dotted,sold. Drury,born 1980, is from Utah,moved to New York, he has a MA in Fine Arts and has been working with the Dean project since his first solo exhibit in 2010. The detail of his hyper realistic style is flawless,
The detail of his hyper realistic style is flawless, making one realize how bad our eyes are when we see the detail on the subjects face down to pore and folecule. Many artists who attempt to flash with Hyper- realism loose the personality in all the details whether because they pay little attention to overall composition or forget that the living eye
is controlled by the brain and therefore has prejudice and favor of study. That’s why it is risky giving a portrait commission to a hyper realist painter, not that their work is unflattering for the subject but the image lacks life.The Drury we found at the Dot Art Miami show of Jake Garn was an exact likeness of our retired and beloved family dentist . The same kind, caring and calm expression smiled back to us. Here we realized was a great portrait painter and so young. We predict that Bryan Drury will become this county’s foremost portrait painter, he will paint Presidents and State portraits. Drury is an exceptional talent and anyone brave enough to commission their likeness must be ready for the microscope.
Ken Orton Ken Orton, Born 1951 , UK. USA/ Esp. influenced by Ed Hooper, like so many British realism painters in the UK art schools as modern expressionism overshadowed even the Art school curricula . The Manchester school in particular,where he taught may have made Orton’s persistence with the new realism difficult with Calderists like Dave Sprakes insisting on being “painting professors” .
Saye Gbatu Surrealism at Art Miami . Vladimir Kush. reproductions, also Saye Gbatu NY and Madeline Von Foerster are the painted version of photo shop still making the audience wow with wonder through thoughtful wit and all with a wicked brush talent that convinces the eye.
Vladimir Kush Madeline Von Foerster Francisco Faria, charcoal on paper. Atopia 2011, 42”x 62”, Art Miami 2012Bolsa de Arte San Paulo Brazil. Faria’s renderings are freshly composed in monchrome but the tonality and arrangement still evoke the hues he has excused, making his work out weigh a photo.
The Gallery has an International Art circuit from London, NY, Dubai and Miami. Faria’s charcoal landscapes were their most interesting exhibit at their Miami show.
Chinese Traditional Painting Academy. This was an enlightening section filled with the Zen of old and new that needs it’s own blog space to do just. Whilst it is now easy to buy 200 year old Chinese paintings on E-Bay for a song, the Academy continues to teach and demonstrate their unique and popular discipline to brushed expression.
This section gave the whole afternoon’s viewing the perspective and tradition that many contemporary artists are pushing for.
The debate for quality. the argument against flippant gestures and easy bucks. That, Art’s value must be linked to it’s finesse and originality. That the name branding venturists of Wall Street whose contracted opinions of aesthetics need to allow the show system and real market debates as a measure of true talent and art value. Here,as you can see, very good art was not difficult to find at the Art Basel Miami Beach side shows across Biscayne Bay in Miami,Florida
Miami Beach Art Basel 2012.
Design by Snarkitecture Projects.
Snarkitecture is a collaborative work Art incorporating architecture, exploring and experimental with the element off surprise working within existing spaces or in collaboration with other artists, architecture and designers.
Snarkitecture was established by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham and is represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.
Opening Day for the Art Basel Miami Beach 2012. Dec 6-9 Miami Art reviews 12/11/12
Chairman of the Miami Beach Host committee for Art Basel 2012 is Norman Braman, the county’s most popular and dynamic figure talked about the international reach he personally has witnessed. Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower was delighted to have Collins Park active encouraging the Art Basel crowd to explore. Guy Morin, Canton President of Basel_Stadt and Jason Chandler, UBS committed to the audience the expansion of the Art Basel market with an all year presence on Miami Beach announced by Annette Schönholzer and Marc Spiegler. It was an exciting start to the event and Miami officials were beaming to host this very lucrative and culturally prestigious show once again. The layout, sections and comfort needs fit well into the Miami Beach Convention Center and finding an alternative venue on the Beach would be hard. Mr. Norman Braman is correct in praising the lift the region has with the Basel partnership, Miami was also ready for a major art show or Biennial at the end of the 90’s. Now our region will have the Asian art market to attract visitors and investors.
South Florida is blessed with warm sunny climes when the rest of the world is either beginning to shiver or tired of it.
Miami Beach’s artistic history continues by hosting Art Basel for another decade.
The poem takes center stage of the mural design, encased in the central structure it reads.
Here once by April breezes blown
You came, O gallant De Leon,
Sailed up this friendly ocean stream
To find the wells of ancient dream
The fountain by the poets sung
Where life and love are ever young.
You found it not, O prince, and yet
The wells that made the heart forget
Are waiting here year ever here
With touch of some immortal sphere,
For here below these skies of gold
We have forgotten to grow old
Here in this land where all the hours
Dance by us treading upon the flowers.
Edwin Markham in 1925
This simple rhyming seven versed, to Juan Ponce De Leon’s arrival on the North American continent and the poets satirical epigram to historical myths twists to include us all blessed with final days here under one glorious golden sky after another. Markham had written and recited the epigram for the Lincoln Memorial ceremony in 1922. His recital of his “Lincoln, Man of the People” had an immediate recognition which prompted Gov.James Middleton Cox. to request Markham’s pen for a homage to the history of Miami, Florida and “these import moments in our distant histories.” (James Middleton Cox biography)
Edwin Markham was born in 1842, died 1940, educator, poet and American Institute of Arts and Letters member. 1922 Lincoln Memorial dedication “Lincoln, the Man of the People.” Nine schools named in his honor, A WW2 Liberty ship and Wagner College Horrmann Library archived collection of his personal library and letters.
Markham was a politically and socially conscious writer at odds with the modernists Pound and Elliot and their free form directions in literature. He his exampled as an American of Letters, whose work exemplifies the National tradition in Literature. His interested in working class struggles, ethnic troubles and equal opportunities in education made him a popular choice for composing important civic and cultural epigrams.
Other important works… The Man with the Hoe 1899, Lincoln and other Poems 1901, The Shoes of Happiness 1913,Children in Bondage 1914, California the Wonderful 1914, Gates of Paradise 1920, 80 poems at 80, 1932 and The Ballard of the Gallow’s Bird. published ph 1960.
The M.D.C., Miami Freedom Tower’s New World 1513 mural at the M.D.C. has an epigram by Edwin Markham that dedicates to the discovery of the first known Native American settlement discovered by the Spanish new world explorer Juan Ponce De Leon who landed his boats only yards away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. The Markham poem takes center position of the 44 Ft. Long mural and in true epigram satire twists the fountain of youth fable to include our collective search and fragility, making the verse equal to all contemporary tastes some 90 years later. Perhaps Markham’s preference for the structured inclusion of cultural content and witt is after all a more constant and enduring literary style than the more subjective modernism that surrounded his later days. His Lincoln writings have been re-read and recited as we celebrate the Man’s anniversaries again. Since the Memorial’s dedication in 1922 few writers have been able to equally express our National sentiment and admiration for the iconic President Lincoln and so the poets words continue to serve.